Is Sensibility Possible?

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Stories about our grandchildren are my favorite topics.   Sharing stories about the adventures shared with our children and grandchildren are one of my greatest joys. I prefer to write the ‘fun’ stories related to the generation twice removed from mine. Writing about the quagmire that is our political reality is not my favorite topic.

After experiencing yet another mass shooting of children it behooves me to take on the quagmire once again. I must address the political morass because the inaction of Washington politicians has ended joyful adventures for the grandparents of seventeen young people here in Parkland, Florida. 

We can throw around statistics like there are 89 guns for every 100 American and the second most guns are in Yemen where there are 54 guns for every 100 citizens (and they are in the middle of a civil war).   The NRA and its minions are not listening.

We can talk until we are out of words about how Americans own 48% of the 650 million civilian guns worldwide.

The NRA and its minions don’t care.

We can argue that the US is 5% of the world’s population and accounts for 31% of mass shootings worldwide.   The NRA and its disciples simply ignore the facts.

We can repeat the sad fact that there are more public mass shootings in America than in any other country in the world. The NRA and its adherents claim that is the price of freedom.

The NRA spends over 3 million dollars annually on lobbying in Washington DC. That figure does not include funds spent on local elections. There is no desire to stop the killing of our grandchildren only the desire to sell more weapons and ammunition.

I am not an anti-NRA person. Somewhere in my ‘stuff’ are two NRA certificates for completion of rifle and shotgun courses. My in-laws are all NRA members and own several guns used for hunting in the woods of Pennsylvania.

I am anti-stupid. Stupid is putting semi-automatic and automatic weapons in the hands of any civilian who has the money to purchase one. Stupid is claiming owning a military style weapon is a second amendment right. Stupid is claiming, again and again, that America somehow has more mentally ill people committing murder than other countries. Stupid is the claim that more guns will make US citizens safer. Really!

The one fact that cannot be argued, intelligently, is that the country with the most guns is the country with the most mass murders.

I have the privilege to share stories about my grandchildren because they have not been murdered by someone with a gun.

Too many grandparents no longer have that opportunity.

Here is the point. The second amendment was written to protect the right of an individual to own a gun that could be fired one time before it had to be reloaded.  The founding fathers never intended the second amendment to be misused as a tool to sell military style weapons to civilians. It is well past time to remove military style weapons from the civilian population and make the sale of such weapons illegal.

Stories about our grandchildren are my favorite topic.   Sharing stories about the adventures shared with our children and grandchildren are one of my greatest joys. I don’t want another grandparent to lose the opportunity to share adventures with their grandchildren.

See you next time.

 

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Quest: Sanibel Island

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The County Seat of Lee County (in southwest Florida on the Gulf Coast) is Fort Myers. The connection My Jane and I have with Ft Myers is our longtime friends Sterling and Mary Jane who winter here.  (On Captiva) Our friendship began in the late 1970’s and has continued to survive despite My Jane and I moving around the United States and the world. After all these years we find ourselves, half the year, within a three-hour drive of each other (the closest we have been since 1986).  We took advantage of the closeness by sharing a fun couple of days together exploring some of Florida near Sterling and Mary Jane’s ‘tindominum’ last week. My Jane and I stayed in a hotel in the largest city in Lee County, Cape Coral, which gave us the thrill of traveling over the bridge  between Ft Myers and Cape Coral each day. What a view!

Sterling and Mary Jane took us to Sanibel and Captiva Islands for the day.    Travel brochures claim you can not walk a step on the beach without indulging in the so-called “Sanibel Stoop” to search for shells. We did the Sanibel Stoop on Captiva collecting souvenirs for our oldest grandson. Enjoying the clean Gulf coast sand reminded me of my years on the west coast in 1970-71. In those days the sand was oily due to continual seepage from the multitude of oil platforms dotting the sky-line of the Pacific Ocean. I am glad we reduced off shore drilling so the beaches of our country could return to their natural beauty. I hope politicians do not decide to ever return to that destructive practice again. Surely, we are not that short-sighted!

Sanibel and Captiva formed as one island about 6,000 years ago. The first known humans in the area were the Calusa,   who arrived about 2,500 years ago. The Calusa were a powerful Indian nation who came to dominate most of Southwest Florida through trade via their elaborate system of canals and waterways. Sanibel remained an important Calusa settlement until the collapse of their empire, soon after the arrival of the Europeans. (Sounds like other sad familiar stories from our history.)

In 1963 a causeway replaced the ferry between the islands and the mainland. The resulting population explosion caused the City of Sanibel to pass new restrictions on development after it was incorporated. Currently the only buildings on the island taller than two stories date before 1974, and there are no fast food or chain restaurants allowed on the island except a Dairy Queen (I don’t know how we missed this!) and a Subway (we ate lunch here), which were on the island before the laws were enacted.

We spent an enjoyable hour or so at Sanibel Historical Village. The buildings in the village were brought together to preserve the history of the island. The 1926 ‘Great Miami’ Hurricane plays a prominent role in the story of this village and its structures. The post office was built completely from materials gathered after the hurricane decimated the island. 

Our afternoon was happily spent at the Ding Darling Wildlife Society-Visitor and Education Center and preserve.  (The sign reads-Gopher Turtle crossing.)    Darling was a conservationist cartoonist   and as a member of FDR’s Committee on Wildlife Restoration established the duck stamps (even designing the first one.)   I feel a special connection to Ding due to his attendance at Yankton College back in 1894. (No, I never met him on campus at Yankton. Really!)

We did the driving tour around the preserve and were lucky to come across about three hundred White Pelicans. 

A White Pelican looks like the bird on the restroom door at the visitor center.   It’s not every restroom that gives you an education on local birds. We also saw several Rosy Spoonbills. 

We are already making plans for next year when we want to attend spring training games for the Red Sox and Twins.

See you next time.

Quest: Raising a Grandson

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My Jane and I attended a book fair at Joshua’s school in September or October last year. Joshua had a wonderful time visiting with his friends and buying books. His friend Angelik left before we bought our books and said good-bye to Joshua with a hug. I noticed Joshua did not hug back instead remaining rigid with his arms at his side. I knew it was time to do some teaching with my favorite first grader.

Since that night we have developed rules for living with girls. We have four rules, so far, and I am certain we are just beginning to create this list. The first rule sprang directly out of the book fair experience. When a girl hugs you, hug her back, is rule number one.

Rule number 2 cropped up one day in the pool.   We were playing as usual when I heard Joshua’s Mom, Sarah, admonish him, “Don’t pull on my bathing suit.” Rule number 2 is: Don’t pull on a girl’s bathing suit, or any other girl’s clothing.

Rule number 3 came along in response to the sexual harassment epidemic in our country. Often during our play in the pool Joshua will yell, ‘Stop, stop!’ to which I sing the chorus of the Hollies hit Stop, Stop, Stop   which goes like this; Stop, stop, stop all the dancing give me time to breathe. Stop, stop, stop all the dancing or I have to leave.” With that background already in place we developed rule number 3 to help my grandson steer clear of the sexual misconduct swamp and become a gentleman. Rule Number 3 is: When a girl says ‘stop’ or ‘no’- stop!

Off the subject, and maybe a topic for another blog, Joshua knows the chorus to ‘Stop, Stop, Stop’ as well as the words to “Yellow Submarine”   and “I’m Henry the Eighth”   because we sing those songs almost every time we are in the pool. What did you expect from a grandfather who is a child of the 60’s?   Really!

We added rule number 4 during a discussion while hanging out in the pool.   I forget what the impetus for the rule was. Maybe we were playing a game where we try to imagine what other people are doing right now. Anyway, the rule is: When a girl is talking listen and let her talk.

Maybe we adults could improve our society by remember these rules.

#1. Return greetings and initiate greets to others.

#2. Keep your hands to yourself.

#3. Respect other’s desires.

#4. Listen more than you talk.

See you next time.

 

Quest: What Did Jesus Look Like?

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There has been much interest lately about what Jesus looked like. My first response to the question is, “What difference does the hue of Jesus’s skin have to do with his teachings?

Not being concerned about the appearance of Jesus myself I decided, anyway, to do some research. I spent a couple of hours looking at depictions of Jesus. In case you are wondering we have zero contemporary images of Jesus. Most of the paintings of Jesus have been done by Europeans. Our best-known images of Jesus paint him as a white guy, mostly because white guys did the painting.   There are other depictions of a non-white Jesus, which are also terrific. 

Most movie depictions of Jesus show him as a white guy as well. I watched “Risen” (2016) last week and noticed the same.  The movie tells the story of Clavius, a Roman Tribune who is ordered by Pilate to find the crucified body of Jesus.   Clavius gradually comes to believe that Jesus is The Son of God and knows his life is changed forever. The story takes place in 1st century Palestine so, of course, the actors are all white guys.   I also noticed that many of the disciples had British accents. Really? I have noticed this phenomena in other Jesus movies in the past.

For those of you who want Jesus to be white just remember where he was born and where he lived. 1st century Palestine did not boast of a very large percentage of white folk. With the earlier Hebrew migrations to Egypt and other African nations the chances of Jesus being black are far greater than the chance he was white. At the time Jesus was walking around the Sea of Galilee there were many black Jews but not much evidence of white Jews.

If you listen to the story of Judas betraying Jesus, you will hear the ‘bad guys’ telling Jesus to take them to Jesus and point him out. The need to point out Jesus among his disciples leads me to believe that Jesus looked pretty much like the rest of the folks in the region. This is true, unless the disciples were indeed Brits and Jesus looked like them.

I tend to believe that Jesus would have looked much like any other Palestinian male of the first century. Maybe, something like the guy in this computer-generated photo.

Friends, we don’t know what Jesus looked like. Does his skin hue change his teachings or actions? The one who says love your neighbor as yourself doesn’t have to have a certain skin color. His skin color is much less significant than his teaching. Let’s stop expending energy on something as insignificant as the color of Jesus’ skin. Instead let’s spend our energy loving our neighbor, no matter what color of skin they live in. Really!

Quest: Behind the Magic

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Yesterday, I woke at ‘oh-dark-thirty’ to join a group of nine other folks on a ‘backstage’ tour of Disney World’s steam trains. Except for the early hour, I enjoyed the morning with my son-in-law, Eddie, while we experienced places on Disney property a person doesn’t usually see.

Eddie invited me on “The Magic Behind Our Steam Trains Tour” because he knows I used to be a rail fan and I appreciated the opportunity to hang out near a steam engine again.

The big take-away from the morning had nothing to do with the steam engines, however. Twenty of us followed our enthusiastic host   through the main gate, passing under the train station, into an empty Main Street USA. Words cannot express (blame it on the stroke) the feeling of standing on the town oval looking down the street toward the castle absent any humanity. The music was playing, and shop windows were alive with the animated displays, but the sidewalks and street were empty. No trolley was meandering down the street. No parade was winding around the oval. No one was selling bubble blowers or popcorn. Did I mention the street was empty? We were not allowed to take photos until the park opened so we held our cameras at the ready until the gates opened behind us. 

There isn’t enough space in this blog to share everything so here are a few highlights. The eleven of us boarded the train after it had made the morning safety run and steamed past Adventureland to the one siding on the rail line. We backed down the siding to the roundhouse where we were invited to climb into the cab of engine number 3 The Roger E. Broggie.    All the locomotives at Disney World were purchased from the Yucatan Railroad in the seventies. The Baldwin Locomotive Works in Philadelphia built the fleet between 1916 and 1928. Yes, the oldest engine is celebrating it’s 102nd birthday this year. I wonder if I will be in that good of shape on my 102nd birthday? 

Engine #1 is The Walter E. Disney, #2 is The Lilly Belle (named after Walt’s wife Lillian and #4 is The Roy O. Disney (The financial genius behind The Disney Company). Roger E. Broggie built the locomotives used at Disneyland and found the locomotives used at Magic Kingdom.

Do not insult the engineers on these locomotives by suggesting they are driving an amusement park ride. The engineers are real engineers driving real locomotives on a real mile and a half long short-line railroad.

We were thrilled to watch the fireman light a ball of fire  (that is the fireman holding the fire in his hand before throwing it into the firebox.) and ignite the oil that fuels the steam engine. It was very exciting watching the flames shot out of every opening available when the oil caught fire! We also, enjoyed a steam ‘pop-off’ safety test while sitting right behind the tender.

Walt Disney was a train enthusiast beginning as a child living in Missouri. His dream was to become a train engineer. That love of trains was still in his soul when he began to design Disneyland. His amusement park had to not just include a train, but the train had to be a prominent part of the experience. To accomplish this task the Disney parks are built so the first thing a guest sees when they arrive is a train station. Really!

Of course, Eddie and I had to grab something to eat before we left the park, so we headed down Main Street to Casey’s Corner   for a hotdog (What else?)! I had a Teriyaki Diggity Dog.

See you next time.

Quest: I’m in Love With My Grandchildren

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I am in love with my grandchildren.

  (here with their Mother)  When they are visiting, which they do twice a week, the noise level challenges the decibel level of a 747 rolling down the runway for take-off. I love them still.

Our neat and orderly house becomes a mess of toys clothes, bathing suits and anything else Lillian can get her hands on approximately 30 seconds after the crew has broken through the front door.   I love them still.

In the pool, after eighty-five games of ‘Jack-Be-Nimble’ (Walter gets thrown into the air on the line, ‘jumps over the candlestick, or alligator pit, or quick sand pit) my arms and back ache. During the same game in the house Walter gets thrown unto the sofa instead of into the air with a similar strenuous move on my part. I love them still.

After eighty-five games of ‘Jack-Be-Nimble’ and thirty-five games of ‘Row, Row, Row Your Boat’,   a game where Lillian gets pushed and pulled away from me then toward me while Joshua throws pool toys at me, I love them still.

After, one hundred turns of hide and seek with Joshua, by which time I can almost kneel behind a bed one more time, I love them still.

Walking around holding Walter’s hand  (as seen on a trip to Pennsylvania in November) for many hours, picking up toys and putting them in bins along the way, until my back screams for me to stand up straight, I love them still.

Chasing Joshua around playground equipment and the soccer field at our community park until my legs send a message to my brain asking if it has gone on vacation, I love them still.

Holding Lillian’s hands   while she learns to walk until my lower back muscles scream at my brain, “Dude! What-up?” I love them still.

My Jane and I only have a brief time to enjoy the grandchildren. We plan to love them as long as we can breath in oxygen.

  I am in love with my grandchildren. Really.

Quest: A Florida White Christmas

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My grandsons and I were walking around the lake   behind our house the week before Christmas. The hike is difficult for, Walter, the two-year-old  who’s legs are only about six inches long but, Joshua, the seven-year-old loves running free.   We saw the usual neighbors, Wood Storks, Blue Heron and Sand Cranes as we made slow progress around the water. About a third of the way around we caught up to a flock of Ibis. Joshua couldn’t avoid the challenge of sneaking up on the birds. As stealthily as a seven-year-old can be he managed to scatter the flock in several directions before we moved on. At the half way point I was almost certain I was looking at an alligator floating just below the surface of the lake. While my brain was trying to determine what I was seeing Joshua shouted, “There is an alligator.” Sure enough we were looking at as much of ‘our’ alligator as I have ever seen. We could see him from the tip of his snout to behind his eyes. I held Walter’s hand a little tighter as we marveled at the sight and kept moving! We had only gone about twenty yards when I noticed what looked like two alligator eyes and Joshua shouted (Joshua always shouts!) “There’s another alligator.” So, we now know at least two alligators live in our lake. This is an exciting place to live!

We enjoy living by the lake while we swim safely in our caged in pool!   Every morning I eat breakfast either on the pool deck looking at the lake or in the dinning room facing the lake through the sliding doors. Breakfast is a peaceful time of reflection and coffee drinking that I look forward to each morning!

I was enjoying my morning coffee sitting at the dinning room table on Christmas morning when I was amazed by a flock of 15 Ibis   searching for food on the edge of the lake. An Egret   was also foraging amid the flock of smaller birds. I realized the gathered birds were a special Christmas gift. Here I was living in Florida on Christmas Day and Nature surprised me with a Florida white Christmas. Really!

 

I can get used to white Christmas without snow!

Do We Really Need to Increase Defense Spending?

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My correspondence between my Senators and myself has been continuous the past weeks. I felt it was time to share a two of my letters with you. The letters below are in response to a letter sent to me from Senator Marco Rubio. The complete test of Senator Rubio’s letter is at the end of this blog.

Letter #1

Dear Senator Rubio,

In your recent communication to me you stated, “The United States must maintain its leadership role in the world, which requires a strong national defense and robust intelligence capabilities. When America is strong, peace is more likely than war.”

I agree with you that the United States must maintain its leadership role in the world. To maintain a leadership role in the world other Nations must be able to trust that our signature on an agreement or treaty means we will abide by the words in the treaty or agreement. When Congress allows a sitting President to unilaterally break a treaty or agreement with other Nations the United States loses the ability to maintain a leadership role in the world. No amount of military might can overcome a lack of trust in our government. When other Nations cannot trust us to live up to our word, peace is less likely than war.

The Senate must reverse The President’s actions resulting in our leaving the Paris Climate Agreement   and the Iran Nuclear Agreement.  If change to these agreements (as well as NAFTA) is warranted the United States must work with the other countries toward those changes. The result of the United States abandonment of these agreements is a loss of leadership in the world.

As you stated in your letter, “It is also in the best interest of our national security and economic prosperity to support democracy and uphold the international order that has benefited our nation since World War II.” We do not uphold the international order by retreating from the international dialogue.

Sincerely,

Allen L. Heckman, MAJ, USAF, (Ret)

Letter #2

Dear Senator Rubio,

In a recent communication from your office you stated, “The free nations of the world look to America to champion our shared ideals, vulnerable nations depend on our military capabilities to deter aggression from their neighbors, and oppressed people look to our shores in hopes of finding freedom.”

I have two thoughts in response to your statement.

First, The President with the support of Congress is doing an excellent job of dashing the hopes of oppressed people looking to our shores in hopes of finding freedom. Shame on you.

Second, we do not need to increase military spending to deter aggression against vulnerable nations. Our Nation already spends more money on our military than the next seven countries spend on their military added together. Those countries include, in order of military spending, China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, United Kingdom, India, France and Japan. The United States spends $2.77 for every $1 China spends on it’s military. 

The United States has 19 aircraft carriers to the rest of the world’s 12 carriers. Our 10 largest carriers are also larger and technologically superior to all 12 of the world’s carriers. 

  The USS Gerald Ford cost almost 10.50 billion dollars to build and the cost to build the next Nimitz Class carrier will exceed that dollar amount. Those dollars would pay for a lot of Medicaid.

Taking money away from Medicare and Medicaid to build more instruments of destruction will go a long way toward dashing the hopes of oppressed people looking to our shores and those living within our shores.

Fund Medicaid and Medicare. Do not increase military spending.

Sincerely,

Allen L. Heckman, MAJ, USAF, (Ret)

Senator Rubio’s letter

Dear Mr. Heckman,

Thank you for taking the time to express your thoughts regarding America’s defense and national security policy. Understanding your views helps me better represent the people of Florida in the United States Senate, and I appreciate the opportunity to respond.

As Americans, we are blessed to live in a nation founded on the principle that all men and women are created equal and endowed by God with rights that cannot be taken away. The free nations of the world look to America to champion our shared ideals, vulnerable nations depend on our military capabilities to deter aggression from their neighbors, and oppressed people look to our shores in hopes of finding freedom.

I believe we have a moral duty as the greatest power in the world to safeguard the values of freedom, justice, and human rights. It is also in the best interest of our national security and economic prosperity to support democracy and uphold the international order that has benefited our nation since World War II. The United States must maintain its leadership role in the world, which requires a strong national defense and robust intelligence capabilities. When America is strong, peace is more likely than war.

It is an honor and a privilege to serve you as your United States Senator. As a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Appropriations Committee, I will keep your thoughts in mind as I consider these issues and continue working to ensure America remains a safe and prosperous nation.

Sincerely,

Marco Rubio

United States Senator

God’s Authority

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While riding my bike today I saw this bumper sticker, “Respect authority, especially God’s” My thought after reading this statement was, “What does that really mean?”

So, let’s explore what it might mean to “Respect authority, especially God’s”? First, we need to begin with who God is or who’s God we are talking about? Are we referring to the Hebrew God who destroys folks who don’t respect Him? The God who swallows whole families in the earth for hording ‘manna’?   Are we talking about the God who commands parents to stone children who talk back to them?   Are we talking about the God who commands His followers to kill every enemy solder and civilian (women and children) plus all their livestock?   Are we talking about the God who kills the first-born children of the enemy of His people?   If that is the god we are to respect you can leave me out. A cruel god like that one is not a god I am interested in respecting. That kind of god opens the way for folks to hate and assault those different from themselves. A malevolent god with this nature leads us to Nazism, White supremacy and the KKK. I am not there and I do not respect a god of hate and murder.

If we are talking about The God Jesus of Nazareth espouses you will get my attention. Jesus assures us he has come to complete the Hebrew law we know as the Old Testament. The purpose of the Hebrew law was to get people next to God by following the rules. Spoiler alert: That didn’t work! Jesus completes the law by getting people next to God through his presence with us. Jesus, the law completer gives us a simple formula for living on this plant.

The simple formula Jesus gives us is twofold. First, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. Second, Jesus says, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend the whole law and the prophets.”

If these are the authority we are meant to respect, count me in. Here is a brief look at what it might mean to respect God’s command to love God and each other.

To love God means to love God’s creation with all our heart and soul and mind. If we respect God’s authority we would care for the earth, sky and sea created by God.   We would not place financial gain over keeping the air, water and earth clean of pollutants.

To love God means to love God’s creation with all our heart and soul and mind. If we respect God’s authority we would care for all the people on the earth God has created. God created humanity in a rainbow of colors.  God created all humanity and said that it was ‘good’. If we respect God’s authority we will accept each other as equal, none better and none lesser. All God’s creation deserves the opportunity to live without fear of each other on this earth where God’s authority is respected.

To love our neighbor as we love ourselves is already addressed in the first law. But let’s get personal about this law. If you don’t want to be shot by a neighbor, encourage your elected officials to pass a law prohibiting the civilian ownership of military style weapons. Advocate for sensible gun laws. You would be respecting God’s authority if you did that.

If you don’t want to choke to death due to lack of oxygen encourage your elected officials to pass legislation to reduce the spewing of toxic waste into our atmosphere and environment. Support organizations trying to save our planet. You would be respecting God’s authority if you did that!

If you would want help recovering from a devastating storm ask your elected officials to provide funding for the people of Puerto Rico and The Virgin Islands. Donate to relief efforts while you push your elected officials. You would be respecting God’s authority if you did that!

If the law or ideal being advocated in government or your neighborhood does not respect the two codes presented by Jesus, they do not respect God’s authority and must be discarded.

Respecting God’s authority means no one is marginalized or ostracized. What does it mean, really, to respect God’s authority? To respect God’s authority might really mean, “peace”. 

The Flag

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During my twenty plus years in a United States military uniform I have served this country overseas in Vietnam, 

Cuba,

Korea,

NATO in Norway

and Kuwait.  My service was performed in defense of American democracy. Military personnel serve to defend the freedoms enshrined in the constitution. I served so folks could speak truth to power under the right of free speech. America is a great country (already) largely due to our First Amendment right.

Peaceful and non-violent demonstrations addressing inequality in our country are a necessary ingredient in the continual effort to improve the democratic process. My military service is my contribution in support of those willing to address inequality in our country.

I stand (or kneel) with those who have over time to public/peaceably chosen this form of protest to raise awareness of social ills in our country.    These actions are not taken lightly. The athletes involved in these demonstrations are intelligent people who are active in their communities and love The United States of America. I stand/kneel with them as together we try to improve life for all people in America.

Is kneeling during the National Anthem disrespect? Yes! Kneeling during the National Anthem is also a means to speak truth to power. This simple act of disrespect is a courageous act of free speech raising awareness of social inequality. Here are some other ways to disrespect the flag that serve no purpose what-so-ever.

Most folks know the flag is not supposed to touch the ground. But did you know:

The flag should never be used for any advertising purpose. It should not be embroidered, printed or otherwise impressed on such articles as cushions,  handkerchiefs, napkins, boxes, or anything intended to be discarded after temporary use. 

The flag should not be used as part of a costume

or athletic uniform,  except that a flag patch may be used on the uniform of military personnel, fireman, policeman and members of patriotic organizations.

The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.

The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.

The civil disobedience associated with the National Anthem and Flag is an effort to educate leaders to the needs of American citizens.  I really cannot believe we are still being forced to educate our white leaders about the inequalities in our society. As a military retiree I never expected one day to hear the President assault the first amendment right of people to protest peaceably in our country. The President should be the first to affirm the First Amendment right to peaceable free speech. Free speech is really what makes America great.